Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New smartphone app offers easy and inexpensive solution for hearing screening

Date:
July 8, 2014
Source:
University of Pretoria
Summary:
A lightweight, automated and easy-to-use mobile health solution called hearScreen is ideal for developing countries and use in rural areas.

A hearing test that is child’s play: Prof De Wet Swanepoel testing a four year old with hearScreen, a smart phone app.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Pretoria

A lightweight, automated and easy-to-use mobile health solution called hearScreen is ideal for developing countries and use in rural areas.

Related Articles


An article published in the International Journal of Audiology on 7 July 2014 reports on an innovative smartphone app that will make it easier and cheaper to screen people, including young children and the elderly, for hearing loss. The project was led by Prof De Wet Swanepoel from the University of Pretoria (UP), South Africa, in partnership with colleagues at UP and in Australia.

Data from the World Health Organisation shows that more than 5% of all the people in the world (about 360 million) suffer from permanent disabling hearing loss, and more than 32 million of these are children. In developing areas, up to 80% of people with hearing loss have no prospect of early detection.

"Hearing is the cornerstone for developing language, for learning to speak and to communicate," says Prof Swanepoel, an audiologist at the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at the University of Pretoria. He is an expert in the early detection of hearing problems in babies and children. "Even minor hearing defects can have a major impact on language development and the academic performance of children, because they simply get lost within the noisy environs of a classroom."

With the introduction of a new South African health policy in 2012 that requires all Grade 1 learners -- more than 1 million every year -- to be screened for hearing loss, Prof Swanepoel saw the need to develop a mobile and easy-to-use hearing screening device that could replace the cumbersome and heavy apparatus that are currently used.

The newly developed app adheres to international calibration standards, can be loaded onto a low-cost, smartphone, is automated, and continuously monitors background noise to ensure reliable testing. A screening takes only one minute and the data can be uploaded via the mobile phone network to a centralised site for evaluation and recommendations.

"Anyone who knows how to operate a mobile phone can set up the 'hearScreen' device, says Prof Swanepoel, who is also an executive board member of the International Society of Audiology. "It significantly improves and alters current models of school and community-based identification of hearing loss."

"Africa needs cost-effective and sustainable methods with which to identify hearing loss in young children," he adds. "Mobile health technologies such as this app are becoming more and more important in taking healthcare to the people who would otherwise not have access to hearing screening."

Several field trials are currently underway in schools and primary health care settings. Findings demonstrate screening outcomes equivalent to the current gold standard. The user-friendly interface and affordability opens up new models for early access to hearing loss detection within underserved communities.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pretoria. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. De Wet Swanepoel, Hermanus C. Myburgh, David M. Howe, Faheema Mahomed, Robert H. Eikelboom. Smartphone hearing screening with integrated quality control and data management. International Journal of Audiology, 2014; 1 DOI: 10.3109/14992027.2014.920965

Cite This Page:

University of Pretoria. "New smartphone app offers easy and inexpensive solution for hearing screening." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140708101619.htm>.
University of Pretoria. (2014, July 8). New smartphone app offers easy and inexpensive solution for hearing screening. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 2, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140708101619.htm
University of Pretoria. "New smartphone app offers easy and inexpensive solution for hearing screening." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140708101619.htm (accessed March 2, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, March 2, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Ways To Celebrate National Nutrition Month

The Best Ways To Celebrate National Nutrition Month

Buzz60 (Mar. 2, 2015) Just when your New Year&apos;s Resolution is losing steam, March comes with fresh inspiration. TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) has some tips to incorporate into your lifestyle during National Nutrition Month. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: 1.1 Billion At Risk Of Hearing Loss, Will They Listen?

WHO: 1.1 Billion At Risk Of Hearing Loss, Will They Listen?

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) According to the World Health Organization, 1.1 billion young people are at risk of hearing loss. Can this staggering number change things? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rehab Robot Helps Restore Damaged Muscles and Nerves

Rehab Robot Helps Restore Damaged Muscles and Nerves

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 1, 2015) A rehabilitation robot prototype to help restore deteriorated nerves and muscles using electromyography and computer games. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins